Shifting the focus from the individuals who create the best albums to take an inside look at the behind-the-scenes jobs that keep the industry running. Go beyond the music and meet the people who keep your favorite bands in the public eye…
After years of working in the music industry, I realized I had never met people who work in radio. Not just in college, but professional day-to-day radio people who use it as a tool to bring bands’ careers to life.
That changed last summer when I was invited to a music conference known as The Gathering. All of a sudden, I was thrown into Louisville, Kentucky, and surrounded by a large crowd of radio promoters, executives, and record label A&R reps. Not only was it an introduction to a part of the scene I had personally never been involved in, it was an amazing conference.
While there, I met Tracy Brown, president of AMPLIFY Entertainment Group. The main focus of the business is radio promotion, but they also build virtual labels. Brown isn’t a one-job person; she makes sure The Gathering continues to happen each summer and runs an artist management company that represents artists including Boy Epic, formerly on Hollywood Records; Savage After Midnight on RED Music; and the unsigned acts HUNGER and Ray Little.
I asked Brown to be in Scene Not Heard because hers is a totally different path from what I was used to—and definitely one that intrigues me to this day.
What was the path to get into her position?
“Believe it or not, I started at music retail and transitioned into Field Marketing and Artist Development at EMI when all of the distribution companies had branches in 10 markets across the country. The industry has radically evolved since then, and I don’t think that my retail experience has any meaning on my résumé at this point in time. That being said, I learned a lot about the industry in those jobs that still serves me today. Marketing, positioning, and promotion are still important, and while there may not be a cash register to position a table card next to or a Top 20 sales wall to update weekly, many of the same concepts have evolved to fit the current digital reality that music business now functions in.”
What has been her favorite project to work on?
“One?! That’s an impossible question! It’s been my pleasure and honor to work to break the careers of AWOLNATION, K.Flay, Metric, and The Unlikely Candidates at radio. I loved every one of these bands within 30 seconds of my first listen to their first song. The same goes for all of the artists who I manage; each of these artists has inspired me, and that’s why I work with them. There’s nothing like hearing a song on the radio that you busted your ass to get played. And even years later, I’ll still blast ‘Sail’ when it gets played.”
What keeps her inspired in this ever-changing world and scene?
“I love music and the people who create and deliver it. What’s more fun than a great show? Music inspires everyone. Songs build up over your lifetime and become the soundtrack of your life. I wish more communities supported their local artists, but there are many places throughout the country that do. I love going to Los Angeles and seeing Ray Little play a sold-out show on a Tuesday night in one of the biggest music markets in the country. It’s a great feeling to know that these people’s support is real, organic, and driven by their own desire to discover new and compelling artists.”
Brown is an experienced and recognized individual in the radio promotion market and an incredible ally to some of my favorite songs over the years. In fact, I probably have her to blame for getting my younger self into Metric way back when Fantasies dropped in 2009. Actually, I have Tracy Brown to thank for my first time seeing Metric play live, both on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” and in person. Thanks!